Do Cockroaches Hide in Clothes?

Roaches prefer cotton and fabric used for heavy upholstery like carpets and curtains. Those bugs will hide and lay eggs in clothes especially if they are dirty. This helps in keeping predators from seeing them.

Cockroaches hide in clothes because they are warm and moist. This provides a good habitat for them and their young ones. To find roaches in clothes, check the inner edges of folded fabric and clothing. They prefer folded clothes that are kept in dark areas.

Folded clothes in wardrobes provide a good hiding place. Hanging clothes are always moved or shaken by wind or humans. Roaches do not like disturbance or human movement and that is why they prefer hiding in clothes that are folded.

Do cockroaches hide in clothes?
How to get rid of cockroaches in clothes

Do cockroaches lay eggs in clothes?

That’s right. Roaches will hide and lay eggs in folded clothes because fabrics trap warmth which provides a good environment for the female to lay eggs. Folded clothes that lay in a wardrobe for a long time will be perfect for roaches to lay eggs.

Before putting on any cloth that has been folded for some time, check along the edges and the inner area. Shake it off and see if you have any roaches hiding in there.

Do roaches travel in clothes?

Roaches and their eggs can travel on clothes as long as they are in a hidden fold. This is how roaches from the bedroom can spread to your car and other areas. It is advisable not to put it on but rather wash it first so that you do not spread them.

Clothes are one of the easy ways for roaches to travel and spread. They can be easily left in your car and they will thrive there. People eat in cars and there is always food that is dropped for roaches to feed on.

The young ones can easily get into handbags and spotting them will be difficult especially if the handbag is made of fabric. Handbags that are made of heavy fabric can spread roaches around if they are dark or dull in color.

Reasons why cockroaches will hide in clothes

Roaches are generally dark brown and this is why they also love hiding in dark areas. This helps in keeping them away from predators. Check the folded clothes at the far end of your wardrobe where it is dark and you will find them.

1. Moisture

Heavy clothing will trap moisture and retain heat. This the main reason why cockroaches hide in clothes. A wooden wardrobe that is not regularly cleaned will attract roaches to breed and lay eggs.

Cockroaches will not come to eat your clothes but the environment and how your clothes smell is what will attract them. Keeping the clothes clean is the best way to avoid and deter roaches from your clothes.

2. Warmth in wooden wardrobes

Metallic wardrobes tend to be cold. They will not hold the outside temperatures like the wooden ones do. This will make it difficult for roaches to survive there because they do not like cold temperatures.

Wooden wardrobes on the other hand will hold off the cold and keep your clothes warm. This will encourage the roaches to breed and lay eggs in there. The eggs will have the right environment for the young ones to thrive.

3. Dirty clothes

Roaches also hide in clothes because they are attracted to our sweat and food stains. Food stains that are trapped on clothes will keep roaches in clothes. They also hide in poorly washed clothes.

Roaches are attracted to sweat and they will try to find it as they eat through the fabric. They will also leave stains on your clothes. This is one of the reasons why you should keep them away.

Roaches will smell food stains on clothes. As a result, they will come looking for that smell especially if it is something they like beef stew. Use ammonia to get rid of roaches in your laundry. Simply add 1/2 in your final rinse to give them a brighter look and repel bugs.

Tip: Since they are not intelligent, cockroaches will eat through your clothes while trying to get a taste of the stain left. If you have a bucket with dirty clothes left for a long time, do some cleaning as soon as possible.

How to get rid of cockroaches in clothes

The best way to get rid of roaches out of your clothes is to wash the clothes in a washing machine set at 115° F and above. Cockroaches cannot stand high heat levels and they will die faster when it is combined with soapy water.

You can use borax while washing to kill roaches by simply adding ½ cup to each round of your washing load. Ensure you also increase the revolutions so that any young roaches are shaken off and killed.

To keep roaches from your clothes, remove folded clothes in your wardrobe at least once a month for cleaning. Washing will definitely kill roaches since they can never survive any soapy water. Soapy water kills roaches and some will even explode as soon as they drown in it.

1. Keep your clothes in order

If you have many clothes, try to sort them out in a way that you can access them easily. Either way, you do not need too much that you do not use. It is even better to give the ones that you do not like instead of keeping them to provide cockroaches with a hiding place.

Consider changing your wardrobe if it is infested with roaches. However, this will be useless if you do not properly clean the clothes that you removed from the previous one.

After washing clothes, ensure they are well dried and aerated. If you have to fold, keep them in an open aerated place for some time so that they do not harbor any unwanted pests.

2. Use a dryer with high heat levels

If you live in a cold area where clothes cannot be aired outdoors after washing, use a dryer to get rid of the roaches completely. Simply set the degrees to anything above 115° and any roaches in them will die.

Roaches mean you’re dirty and it is best to take that positively for cleaning purposes. It is very difficult for roaches to breed and thrive in a well-cleaned house because they will lack food and eventually move out.

Dirty clothes and upholstery will attract roaches. Cleanliness is the only solution to keep them away. If you have seats made of fabric, ensure you keep them free from food stains especially if you have kids.

3. Hang your clothes instead of folding them

Hanging your clothes in the wardrobe after washing is better than keeping them folded. Hanging clothes are well aerated and are always moved or shaken at the slightest touch. This will deter roaches for them.

It is difficult for cockroaches to hide in hanged clothes because they are not warm enough. Moving around from one hanged clothe to another will be difficult for roaches. It will be quite a hustle for them to fly around since they crawl a lot.

Keeping the wardrobes open for aeration will also prevent cockroaches from hiding in them. You can even get those that do not have doors at all. Roaches will never hide in the open and they will avoid bright places that are well lit.

The clothes will also be well aerated and free from dampness and moisture that attracts roaches.

4. Spray clothes with natural cockroach repellents

You can use sprays that smell good but repel roaches since some insecticides may leave your clothes with a bad smell. One of the best ways to get roaches out of your clothes is to use a homemade peppermint spray.  

This will leave your clothes with a good smell and keep any bugs away from them at the same time. Here are some simple steps of how to make peppermint spray for cockroaches at home:

  1. Put 20 drops of peppermint essential oil in a clean container
  2. Add one tablespoon of vinegar into it
  3. Add another ¼ cup of water into the solution and mix
  4. Pour this into a bottle spray and spray your clothes and the wardrobe with this
  5. You can then close the wardrobe doors for better results

This is best done after cleaning the clothes so that the smell takes time to settle to repel any roaches that are still hiding in there.

This is a user-friendly homemade spray and unlike using kerosine for cockroaches, peppermint cannot have any negative effects on you. It is one of the safe and best ways to keep your clothes free from cockroaches. Roaches will also attract lizards and other pests that feed on them.

Reference:

  1. Michigan State University, Plant & Pest Diagnostics: German Cockroach
  2. Scientific American, Cockroach, and heat by Craig McClain